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Crab Rangoon is one appetizer everyone loves. Who wouldn’t LOVE crispy little pockets lightly spiced cream cheese and crab?? No one I know! They disappear so fast you have to get one while you can!
Making them in AIR FRYER is the genius part, no deep fat frying!! And they come out crispy brown on the outside and creamy savory on the inside.
I love cooking things in the air fryer and they DON’T make a mess like this Air Fryer Crab Rangoon! Or like these Bacon Wrapped Dates that are typically pan-fried, made in the air fryer are SO EASY!!
Are these authentic?
Are crab rangoon even a national dish of anywhere? The first time I had them was next to a pile of eggrolls at the now-defunct, local Chinese restaurant. But doing some online digging I see that even though they have the name Rangoon, the name of a city in Myanmar, they were in fact probably invented at Trader Vic’s in the ’50s. So as far as being an “authentic” dish I don’t think there is much that is authentic about this recipe.
BUT My recipe IS a little different than all the other recipes floating around out there. A great many of them call for Worcestershire Sauce in with the crab, or surimi, and cream cheese mixture. I LOVE Worcestershire sauce but I do not like it in Crab Rangoon. It was too sweet and tasted funny, like the crab meat was off a little bit.
Recipe testing ahead!
So I thought about what works with cream cheese, you HAVE to have something to break up the heaviness of it. Even with chopped crab in it, it needs a respite from the cream cheese. My go-to for that job, even in my stuffed mushrooms, is horse radish. Wasabi was too strong and the color was off. But plain old Beaver Creamy Horseradish did the trick.
Now to give it a little more flavor, because cream cheese is quite bland. I started with garlic powder and onion powder. Added a splash of soy sauce. And a dab of sesame oil. And the flavor was almost there. I added a pinch of powdered ginger and there it was the taste I wanted.
I tried using egg roll wrappers but discovered that what you REALLY need are wonton wrappers. They’re small, and fit just enough of the filling. Plus they get nice and crispy in the air fryer without flopping over and getting mushy.
Air Fryer Crab Rangoon is a HUGE hit in our house, from the resident teenager to the middle-aged man watching his weight. They’re snacky without packing a ton of calories.
What you need
- small wonton wraps, not eggroll wraps
- cream cheese, room temperature
- crab meat OR surimi
- onion powder
- garlic powder
- ground ginger
- sesame oil
- soy sauce
You will also need a basket-style air fryer, I LOVE this Cosori Basket Style Air Fryer but you can use any basket-style air fryer. And you will need a spray bottle with light olive oil in it, OR a pastry brush to brush oil on the Rangoon. A damp paper towel will help the wonton wrappers to not dry out while you’re working with them.
To store leftovers
Any leftover crab rangoons can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat them in the air fryer for a couple of minutes and they’ll be crispy and delicious again!
Air Fryer Crab Rangoon
- 4 ounces crab meat OR surimi, use either one
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1 TBSP soy sauce add more to taste
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp horse radish
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp vegetable oil to spray on the rangoon
- 24 wonton wrappers not eggroll!
- 1/4 cup water to seal the wonton
- chop the surirmi or crab as needed to make sure it's evenly distributed, put it in a mixing bowl
- add the remaining ingredients up through the sesame oil
- use a hand mixer to thoroughly combine the rangoon filling
- lay out a baking sheet and put some parchment or foil on it
- open the wonton wrappers and cover them with a damp paper towel so they don't dry out
- preheat the air fryer on 400 for 5 minutes
- lay out 12 wonton wrappers on the baking sheet
- scoop out a rounded teaspoons of filling into the middle of a wonton wrapper
- wet a finger with some of the water and run it around all 4 sides of the wonton
- pinch two opposite sides together the wonton wrapper together at the tip
- then pinch the other two side together as well, you're not going for perfection, just pinched shut
- repeat with 11 more wonton, keep an eye on the filling you don't want to use to much right of the bat, you want them to be roughly evenly filled
- place the 12 wontons in the basket of the air fryer
- spritz or brush with oil
- air fry at 400° for 6-7 minutes or until the wontons are crispy, browned, and the cream cheese is hot
- meanwhile, repeat filling with the remaining cream cheese filling, cover with the damp paper towel while waiting for the air fryer to finish the first batch
- when the first batch is fried remove to a platter
- repeating frying the second batch, be sure to spritz or brush with more oil as needed
- serve the crab rangoons hot